What is a Range Cooker?
A range cooker is not your standard oven or regular cooker. To answer the question of what is a range cooker, we must highlight that range cookers come in two principal types.
Many range cookers come in the form of conventional ovens which are typically bigger, with more hob burners (ranging from five burners up to seven burners) and several oven compartments, and then there are range cookers which operate on a heat retention system such as the well known Aga and Rayburn brands. In these latter models of range cookers, a central burner heats up all the cast iron core elements of the stove and continues to burn a small amount of fuel to maintain the temperature. The hot plates and ovens are ready at all times to start cooking. Larger systems can also supply hot water and space heating.
What differentiates a range cooker from a standard built-in oven is that the range cooker combines an ordinary hob with an oven in a single freestanding appliance. The range also often features additional elements like warming drawers or a separate grill, which distinguishes it from a regular cooker or standard oven. In fact, you can even cook in warming drawers, so it is almost like having an additional new oven.
Types of range cookers
As mentioned prior, ranges often have more hobs than in your standard cooker. However, the majority of ranges also have two ovens- the main oven and the secondary oven. This is extremely functional as it saves time which you would need to waste by preparing each dish separately, instead of all at one time. This is especially useful for the coming holiday season, whereby you are likely to be hosting dinners and gatherings and you do not want to be stressed or spend too much time away from your guests checking up on the food.
There are many range cooker sizes which you can choose from. The common range cooker sizes vary for each manufacturer.
Dual fuel range cookers & other models
Range cookers also have various sources of fuel.
Range size conventional cookers are available to run on electricity, gas or a mixture of both with a gas hob, an electric grill and electric ovens. Range cookers which run on a mixture of two types of fuel are known as the dual fuel model. Heat retention cookers can also run on electricity, gas, oil or wood.
There are even range cookers fitted with induction technology.
Range cooker installation
Now that you have grasped the question of what is a range cooker, we can turn to the question of how to install one. Installation requirements depend on the fuel source and the construction. Cast iron ranges are particularly heavy and need adequate support such as a concrete plinth or specialist base unit. The range is then assembled on site.
All solid fuel, and some oil and gas range cookers require a conventional flue system, which can either be an existing masonry chimney or a pre-fabricated twin-wall pipe, usually made from stainless steel. An existing chimney must be swept, tested and any necessary repairs carried out before the range cooker is installed to prevent the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. A minimum height of flue is required to provide sufficient up draught and regulations determine how high above the top of the roof the chimney should terminate, taking into account surrounding buildings, trees and other factors.
Some oil and gas range cookers, sometimes referred to as room sealed appliances, can be fitted with a balanced flue. This consists of two pipes running from the back of the range cooker horizontally though to the outside, which means the range cooker has to be sited against an exterior wall. One of these pipes brings in fresh air to feed the burner while the other carries away the gases produced in combustion. Protective caps fit over the ends of the pipes on the outside. Regulations set minimum distances between the pipes and ground level, windows, corners, water pipes and other features.
For those who want to locate their range cooker against an internal wall or even set it as part of an island feature, there are a selection of gas and oil powered models which can be fitted with a power flue. This is a single length of pipe which travels from the range cooker to the outside. It can be as long as 5 metres and have up to 5 bends, allowing it to be placed under the floor, as long as it can be accessed for cleaning, under kitchen cupboards or higher up. An electric fan is fitted at the end to provide suction. This type of installation needs to be accompanied with an airbrick or other method of supplying oxygen to the burner.
For an oil-fired range cooker, a safe storage tank for the oil is also needed. Thorough testing should be undertaken before the range cooker is declared ready for use. As with all such appliances, building regulations apply to their installation and the advice of the relevant professional body, Gas Safe or HETAS, should be followed to ensure safety.
What can you cook in a range cooker?
Most range cookers allow you to cook multiple dishes. Some even come with a wok burner which allows you to cook Asian cuisine such as stir fries. The range cooker delivers an authentic taste which is incomparable to anything else.
Do range cookers preserve energy?
The sign of the times is that we are all more conscious of seeking an appliance which saves energy. Why not opt for such a range in lieu of the standard oven? Range cookers are energy efficient as they not only serve culinary purposes, but they also provide quick heating to your home. In addition to this, the energy ratings of range cookers are classified as 'A' or higher.
Do most range cookers have storage space?
Many range cookers have storage compartments whereby you can keep baking trays, oven trays, dishes used for roasting and other cooking utensils. These storage compartments vary with each model of range cooker. For example, they can come in the form of a handy storage draw.
We have come to the end of this guide and we hope that you have learnt what is a range cooker, how to install one and what sets it apart from other cookers.
Check out our Range Cookers section for our products that you can use in its construction and maintenance.